Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado
History of The
MEDAL OF HONOR
Our Nation's Highest Award for Military Valor "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty"
The FIRST Medal of Honor
Bernard J.D. Irwin wasn't thinking about medals that February morning in 1861...indeed there was no such thing for American soldiers. Instead the Army Surgeon's mind was occupied with concerns for a young Arizona Territory boy and a group of fellow soldiers. Days earlier Cochise and a band of Apache warriors had captured the boy. The 7th Infantry's 2d Lt. George Bascom had immediately pursued with 60 men on a desperate rescue mission. Now word had reached Fort Breckenridge that the greatly superior Apache force had surrounded Bascom and his men and imperiled their own survival.
From Bernard J.D. Irwin's heroism in 1861 to the courage of two Army Rangers who sacrificed their lives in Somalia for the sake of their comrades in 1993, the history of the Medal of Honor is a saga that uniquely defines America and stands as a tribute to all veterans of our military services through each war and conflict. Since our Nation's birth in 1776, no generation of Americans has been spared the responsibility of defending freedom through "force of arms". Since the Civil War Medals of Honor have distinguished the bravest of these brave.
Our emphasis at the Hall of Heroes is not on the Medal of Honor itself, but on the men who have received it. None-the-less, it is important to know and understand the history of the award to fully comprehend the nature of its recipient's actions and heroism. From here you can link to pages of information designed to help you understand how a star-shaped medallion produced in relative obscurity in 1862 matured and grew into a symbol of valor so prominent that when General John J. Pershing presented it to World War I hero John C. Latham he remarked, "I'd swap my stars for that medal."
Along the way we would also like to introduce you to The Congressional Medal of Honor Society, perhaps our Nation's most "exclusive" group, certainly one of our most prestigious. It is this organization, chartered by the Congress, that exists to preserve and protect the history and heritage of our Country's highest recognition: THE MEDAL OF HONOR.
Other Pages in this Site
[History of the Medal of Honor] [The First Presentation]
[Development of the Medal in Appearance] [Time Line of MOH History]
[MOH Statistics] [Interesting Facts about the Medal]
[MOH Museum] [National Medal of Honor Day] [Links]
[Medal of Honor -- BLESSING or BURDEN]
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